Aquinas and GRCC sign agreement to make transfer credits easier

Aquinas College and Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) signed an articulation agreement that will allow faculty from both schools to work together to create a seamless transfer for GRCC students.

Articulation agreements are partnerships between colleges that ensure classes taken at community colleges will transfer to other four year institutions. The transition would allow students to complete a particular bachelor’s degree.

The agreement was signed by GRCC President Dr. Steven C. Ender and Provost Dr. Gilda Gely and Aquinas President Dr. Juan R. Olivarez and Provost Dr. Chad Gunnoe.. The Oct. 14 signing legitimized a spoken agreement that the two colleges have had for years.

“Our partnership with Aquinas College is a win-win,” Ender said. “GRCC students are able to begin their studies at the college on a direct transfer path. On the flip side, students attending GRCC gain educational experience that gives them a leg up as they continue their journey to earning a four-year degree and beyond.”

According to Olivarez, the purpose of the agreement is “to make sure that our students have a seamless system in place so that they can come to Aquinas without some of the barriers and some of the pitfalls that happen when you don’t plan ahead.”

“We are all working very hard in this community and in this region to produce more graduated students from college or some sort of credential,” Olivarez said.

Students transferring to Aquinas from GRCC is good for the community as a whole and not just the two institutions, Olivarez said.

Before becoming president of Aquinas in 2011, Olivarez served as president of GRCC.

So far this year, Aquinas College has received 22 transfer students from GRCC.

The agreement allows faculty members to work together without formal approval of the provost.

“Aquinas College is pleased to sign an articulation agreement that formalizes the longstanding relationship with Grand Rapids Community College,” Olivarez added. “This agreement makes it easy for students to transfer between the two schools and allows faculty at the institutions flexibility when designing programs in collaboration with other colleagues.”

GRCC is a public institution that offers degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. The college has more than 30,000 students.

GRCC participates in the Michigan Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers agreement, which is designed to help GRCC students who graduate with an associate in arts or an associate in science degree transfer to their preferred four-year institution.

Aquinas is a Catholic liberal arts college that was founded in 1886 by the Dominican Sisters of Grand Rapids. Aquinas has just over 2,300 students and 60 academic programs.

GRCC also has similar agreements with Davenport University and Ferris State University.